In 1934 Joe Kemp, an accountant by trade, realising there were many small egg producers and no marketing, set up a farmers co operative to market eggs which grew to become Yorkshire Egg Producers in 1947, the biggest egg packing business in the country. He bought a small farm in Driglington near the egg packing stations and the business continued to expand under the leadership of his eldest son Peter becoming Golden Lay Eggs.
David the younger wanted to farm and he moved onto Springfield Farm in Horsforth in 1952, where the family still farm. Although a mixed farm, dairy farming was the main enterprise, along with chickens and pigs for a time. The farm gradually grew in size as smaller adjacent farms came up for sale or rent. When David's son Rory finished at agricultural college, as well as helping with the dairy cows and pigs, he started a pick your own with strawberries, raspberries and other soft fruit.
David Retired in 1992 and by then the milking-parlour, that was state of the art when David set it up, was tired, out of date and too small. Rory wished to update it but over the years the farm had become surrounded by new houses and so really it was not practical at this location.
The search for a new farm where the dairy could continue resulted in a chance conversation with an arable farmer who Rory had worked for as a harvest student. Rory ended up buying this farm, Glebe farm, in a pretty village in Ryedale and became an arable farmer instead, growing wheat, barley and oilseed rape.
Rory continued with the pick your own in Horsforth and added a small livery yard which has gradually grown in size. The remaining land at Springfield Farm is used to grow grass for silage for cattle and haylage for horses.
David continued to live at Springfield farm with a few suckler cows to keep an eye on, but when he sadly passed away in 2012 the cattle moved over to Glebe Farm, and since then their numbers have gradually been increasing.
In 2016 it was decided to have some of our own oilseed rape seed pressed and bottled and Dalesgold is now sold locally at the pick your own, at farmers markets and in local shops around the two farms.
Rory's two sons have now come home after studying agriculture at University and gaining experience on other farms and with agricultural machinery suppliers/engineers. Joe, a keen engineer, proves very useful in making and mending the farm equipment so helps to keep the farm running. He is also introducing a new venture for the farm, pumpkins at the pick your own ready for Halloween picking.
William is keen to develop the suckler cow enterprise further and so much of his time is spent looking after the cattle. Cattle numbers have increased such that the crop rotation at Glebe farm now includes a significant proportion of grassland and new winter housing facilities have been built. We are now able to keep our cattle from birth to maturity on the farm, all fed on home grown produce. With food provenance becoming more and more important we feel now is the time to introduce our home bred pasture fed beef direct to the public.
Our Crops and Beef cattle are Farm Assured. This means we are part of the Red Tractor Assurance chain, the UK’s biggest farm and foods standards scheme ensuring traceability, food safety and hygiene, animal welfare and environmental protection in all our farming practices.
In today's world of large commercial farming companies where factory farming is becoming more and more common we are proud to still be a family-run mixed farm. Crop rotation on farms with a grass ley included, once common place, has declined as larger machinery and pest controls have become easily available. We have found that on our farms a 4-5 year grass ley in the crop rotation is still very important for the benefit of the soil structure of the land and therefore also benefits subsequent crops. In addition the muck from our cattle not only acts as a natural fertiliser but also a soil improver and helps to reduce our use of artificial fertilisers. With diversity comes sustainability for the land, the environment and the family.
A young Rory on the new Massey Ferguson Tractor - still used on the farm today!
Rory, overall in charge, managing all aspects of the farm and where time permits helping with the practical side of the farm.
Diane, all things office, social media and market stall related, along with helping out with the cattle as and when required.
Will, our main cattle man. Looking after them on a daily basis from bringing them into the world to raising them to become mums themselves. Time off from cattle is spent helping with the arable crops and pick your own.
Joe, our main machinery man, making, maintaining and repairing the farm equipment. Also involved on the arable side of things from combine driving to planting strawberries and when needed lends a helping hand with the cattle.